Saturday, 29 May 2010

Malawi pardons gay couple

Malawi pardons a gay couple from a 14-year prison term after a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

MALAWI-GAY PARDON - Malawi's leader Bingu wa Mutharika pardons a gay couple from a 14-year prison term after a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who applauded the move and urged the country to amend "outdated" laws on homosexuality.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying:

"It is unfortunate that laws which criminalize people on the basis of sexual orientation still exist in some countries. This outdated penal code should be reformed."

Major donors to aid-dependent Malawi had condemned the jail sentence and warned it could affect support for Malawi's budget. The United States called the decision "unconscionable".

The Malawian couple, were arrested after celebrating their engagement in a traditional ceremony in late December.

They were tried and found guilty earlier this month of sodomy and indecency.

Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters